Protest movement still here

To celebrate six months of the anti-government uprising, Hong Kong people miss yet another opportunity to stay at home, let the protests fizzle out and accept the CCP into their hearts (pics here).

It’s hard to tell what’s weird and what’s normal where the Hong Kong ‘government’ is concerned these days, but the highly sensitive among us might have detected a shift since the pro-dem landslide in the District Council elections two weeks ago. The tone has perhaps, if barely, moved slightly away from contemptuousness and towards self-pity.

A recent HK Police press conference actually acknowledged the force’s disastrous public image, bitterly complaining about smears. In the days leading up to the big march there were several passive-aggressive police statements along the lines of ‘please don’t make us use tear gas’, including a vow of flexibility from the new Commissioner. You could (sort of, in theory) interpret these as a face-saving attempt to wind down the aggressive tactics. (As it was, the cops – after producing a mystery Glock allegedly intended for use against themselves – were fairly restrained yesterday.)

The government itself late on Friday issued a tantrum-packed statement – unmistakably using Beijing-style terminology – blasting local elements supporting US ‘interference’ in Hong Kong and pleading with Hong Kong people to ‘voice their discontent against violence and to take photos of rioters’ destructive acts’. The next morning (with the Liaison Office minders presumably elsewhere), it sent out a far whinier press release blathering about calm and promising to ‘humbly listen and accept criticism’.

There are other signs that, behind the scenes, things are not going well.

Independent Police Complaints Council boss Anthony Neo has apparently told Mainland media that the independent overseas experts brought in to advise his fake-watchdog don’t understand the situation in Hong Kong. Leaving aside the question of why he was talking to Shenzhen TV, this looks messy. The experts are/were the IPCC’s one hope of legitimacy, and the government’s main excuse to reject a serious independent inquiry.

And then there is the glorious Theresa Cheng escapade. The FT reports (link here):

A company linked to Hong Kong’s controversial justice secretary, Teresa Cheng, an architect of the now withdrawn extradition bill that has sparked anti-government protests, is being investigated by the city’s antitrust watchdog.

The announcement came just days after Ms Cheng returned to Hong Kong from London, where she had wanted to remain and resign from her government post until she was ordered home by Beijing, according to three people familiar with the situation.

The FT adds that the company, Analogue, worked on the HK-Zhuhai Bridge – but (thank heavens), the report does not mention ‘Beijing leverage over Cheng’, ‘corruption’, ‘sub-standard work’ or anything icky like that. But suspicions that Hong Kong officials are essentially being held captive are not going away.

One explanation after yesterday’s turnout  for Hong Kong protesters’ resilience and determination is that they have come this far; as Ben said, we must hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately. Another is that they smell blood.

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15 Responses to Protest movement still here

  1. Chris Maden says:

    “If such comments tarnish the international reputation of Hong Kong, they would also take a toll on investor confidence, exert more pressure on Hong Kong’s economy…”

    The government just so doesn’t get it…

  2. donkeynuts says:

    If only there was some mechanism where the government could get feedback and understand if they were doing the right thing… What can be done???

  3. YTSL says:

    While the tone of the authorities has shifted towards self-pity in the wake of the District Council election, those of their supporters (including those who like to claim they are “neutral” but casually/invariably describe those with different viewpoints from them as “rioters”) appear to have shifted towards bitterness and anger — this particularly upon their realizing that they are not the majority, silent or otherwise, after all.

    I sometimes suspect that one reason for Hong Kong protesters’ stubbornness is hearing themselves or their friends besmirched so easily by those folks who still are gullible enough to believe the government’s (including police’s) every pronouncement. Having common experiences (such as yesterday’s standing with Hong Kong for long periods along the jammed-up sections of the route as well as marching enmasse) helps to unite people too. Though there certainly also is a lot of truth in the feeling of we either hang together or shall all hang separately at this point in the “game” along with a sense that we actually can/will ultimately prevail.

  4. Hong Kong Hibernian says:

    One should recall that Cheng’s preferred title for her work “Construction Law and Practice in Hong Kong” was “Law and It’s Actual Practice Among Senior Government Officials in Hong Kong”.

    My sources inform me that Theresa was going to seek asylum in Free China, (aka ‘Taiwan ROC’), but the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration denied her entry. Something about pollution control.

  5. Reactor #4 says:

    Today’s general strike was a lot of a damp squid. I set off for work at 5.23 am on the expectation that it was going to be for real.

    Actually, the bulk of the protesters who turned up yesterday (which I estimate to have been around 200-220 k based on four fairly uncomfortable people/square metre), can probably be best described as “hobbyists”. Most of the pros (who are a bit like Goths or Punk Rockets and in character 24-7-365), are now banged up.

    I therefore strongly suspect that by the Winter Solstice celebrations it’ll be game over.

  6. @donkeynuts – you mean like District Council elections, for example? I see some of the pro-government protesters the other day were whining that the democrats somehow tricked their way to victory. Hard to see how, when the entire election apparatus and process is controlled by the government, but self-delusion goes deep on their side.

  7. Headache says:

    Seeing you describe the protests as “anti-government” made me shift uncomfortably in my chair. It rides a bit close to Beijing’s preferred narrative line. The protesters are “for” democratic good governance of the sort we’re all entitled to, however seldom we get it. They’re “anti” things like repressive authoritarian arrogance and unaccountable bureaucratic ineptitude.

  8. @Reactor #4 – squid are usually damp, like most sea creatures.

    @Headache – I think most readers will understand that “anti-government” means against the current clueless crowd of authoritarian do-nothing placeholders, not opposed to government in principle.

  9. pie-chucker says:

    @ Reactor4

    Winter Solstice, 21st December, is less than 2 weeks away. How do you think it would be ‘game over’ by then? And what does ‘game over’ mean in this context? Crushed, resolved by Carrie, protester determination suddenly evaporates next weekend…. Or what?

    I rather enjoy your contrarian posts, but for their entire lack of substance.

  10. pie-chucker says:

    @Private Beach

    Cut the contrarian some slack! He meant ‘squib’ and he means well.

  11. Dyslexic Cnut says:

    Why do I increasingly get the impression reactor#4 is just like me but without the curse of dyslexia?

  12. old git says:

    On 20 November 2019 the Presiding Coroner for Northern Ireland, the Honourable Mrs Justice Keegan, set a timetable to hear the 71 outstanding Legacy Inquests into killings that date back as far as the 1970s over the next five years. At the same time, there are a number of related on-going criminal and Police Ombudsman investigations.

    Many of these inquests and investigations raise issues of collusion between members of British security forces and members of paramilitary groups. Some of the inquests have been grouped together, for example, those into deaths in Mid-Ulster between 1990 and 2000 which were claimed by Loyalists paramilitaries and those in which it appears that undercover soldiers may have been present prior to a fatal incident occurring.

    This is turn raises issues about appropriate punishment for those found to have been responsible for unlawful killings.

  13. Cassowary says:

    @Private Beach
    I don’t suppose that the state media realizes that by whingeing about the pan-dems having “cheated” in the election, they are implicitly endorsing the idea that free and fair elections should exist.

  14. Din Gao says:

    Since we now refer to Carrie Lam as Chief Executive in Name Only –

    we should also refer to our non-existent government as GOvernment in Name Only – GONE

  15. Tancredi says:

    @ Reactor 4:-

    I think you mean damp squib. Look it up.

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